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Funeral Sermon–Whoever Believes in Him is Not Judged


In Memoriam + James W

Overman Jones Funeral Home (Plainfield, Illinois)

St. John 3:16-21

December 17, 2014

Iesu Iuva

 

Arlene, Gene, Ron,

Beloved in Christ:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Today we are gathered in grief.

Numbness.  Confusion.

Where can we find a foothold?

 

James W.: a man ready to help people.  A hard worker.  A good man.

But good men in the sight of men also die, because all men are sinners before God.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

Because we are sinners we must stand before God’s judgment.  Then not only our deeds but the thoughts of our hearts that motivated our deeds will be examined.

 

Who can stand that judgment?  Are our hearts pure?  Don’t we want to hide in the darkness where our sins can’t be seen?

 

Here is our foothold, our support: God loved the world.  That includes everyone.

How did He love the world?  He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

God loved the world and sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Though Jesus could rightly judge the world, that’s not why the Father sent Him.

 

And the text says: Whoever believes in Him is not judged, not condemned.

We live in a world in which we undergo constant judgment, even from friends and close family.  And we want the judgment people speak of us to be like what I heard from James’ family—that he was a good man.  But God’s judgment, if He were to judge, is that we are sinners and not good in His sight.  But the text says: whoever believes in Jesus is not judged, not condemned.

 

Because the Son of God was judged and condemned in our place, for all our sins, that we might not perish for them but have eternal life.

For the sin in which we were born.

For our evil thoughts and desires.

For our failure to love God.

For our misuse of His name.

For our failures to worship and hear His word.

For our failure to honor our parents, love our neighbor.

All these things Jesus took the condemnation for, that we might have eternal life.

 

And yet, the Scripture says, most people in the world reject this gift.  They stay in the darkness rather than believe in the Son and live in the light.

 

Living in the light doesn’t mean we don’t sin—it means we bring our sins to Christ so that He may take them away.

 

Then our good deeds are not good deeds done in the darkness, out of our own strength; they are carried out in the light of God, by faith in Christ, and they remain forever.

 

The word remains for our comfort this morning: God loved the world so as to give His only Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.

 

We can look death in the face with that word of Christ: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order to save the world through Him.”

 

Jesus suffered the agony of death and lay in the tomb three days that we might not despair in facing death.  He promises that all who believe in Him are not judged or condemned, but have eternal life.

 

With that freedom from judgment we can live and die with confidence before God, and have hope in the face of death.

 

Amen.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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